Spinners, Harvest Numbers, and Duck Management

Discussion in 'Waterfowl Hunting' started by SwampCat, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    Since there seems to be a concerted effort by a lot of folks on this forum to do away with the spinners, I thought I might provide some information that might help you out - these are facts - I did not make this stuff up. Current US wide harvest numbers are around 16,000,000 ducks - consistent numbers with many years past - I am speaking of years past being even back in the 1970's. The overall waterfowl population is currently 21% above the long term average. Most individual waterfowl species are above their long term averages (with a few exceptions). The Arkansas average harvest lately has been about 1.1 million birds, which is considerably above the past historical average (1970's was 700,000 to 800,000). These numbers indicate that the current population (and the past ten yrs) is healthy, and in fact above the long term average, and we hunters have enjoyed liberal bag limits and lenghthy seasons as a result. Hunting seasons and bag limits are set with two primary considerations - continued health of the population, and to provide as much hunter opportunity without adversely affecting the populations. That being said, considering waterfowl populations at 21% above the long term average, hunting season length, bag limits, and other restrictions or lack there of, have not subjected waterfowl populations to over harvest. In fact, these harvest totals have been sustained for a period of 15 years. Coincidently, within this same timeframe, spinners have been legal practically nationwide, with a few exceptions. It is apparent the use of spinners has not adversely affected duck populations. The point I am trying to make here is that using the reasoning that too many juvenile birds, or too many birds in general are being harvested as a result of using spinners, does not really prove to be true. Even if increased ducks were harvested due to the use of spinners, it is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, that could actually be looked at as a good thing under present conditions. The fact that the population is healthy and sustaining increased harvest (which means increased hunter opportunity), this may actually be viewed as a good thing by the season and regulation setting folks. This is similar to deer hunting - you have a healthy deer population and the state increases the gun season by one week, and the population stays the same or actually increases, so now they decided they will legalize the use of crossbows (providing more hunter opportunity) and still the population maintains itself, so now they let you muzzle load hunt for an extra week to provide more hunter opportunity, and so on - everything is good - healthy deer herd and increased hunter opportunity. And the point about spinners being more effective on the juvenile ducks - what else would you expect. If you did a study on the effectivness of using a duck call - do you think calling would be more effective on juveniles or adults? What about regular decoys - do you think it would be easier to decoy juveniles, or adults. It would be very difficult to prove that spinners are having an adverse effect on the overall health of duck populations. In Arkansas, duck harvest numbers have averaged for the most part around 1.1 million ducks since 2002, with the exception of 2008 when harvest jumped up to around 1.3 million. The seasons of 2005 and 2006, when spinners were outlawed, showed no appreciable increase or decrease in harvest numbers - again, an indicator that spinners do not have an adverse impact on the overall health of the duck population.

    Now, as far as tradition - tradition, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. My dad cut his teeth duck hunting in the 1930's with live decoys and unplugged guns - that was the tradition in those days. No consideration was given to passing a hen - they were all ducks. Of course, today we would not consider hunting over live decoys with unplugged guns traditional. My dad was a big bowhunter, way before it got really popular. I always thought it odd that he badmouthed compound bows as non-traditional, too easy, "cheaters" as he called them, when he at one time killed ducks over live decoys. Most bowhunters today have probably never killed a deer with a longbow or a recurve - but compound bows were once the "spinners" of the bowhunting world but now they are considered the weapon of choice for bowhunters.

    Just because you ban spinners does not mean there won't be folks moving in on you trying to shoot your swing ducks. There were folks doing that before spinners (even though I have been told I don't know what I am talking about) and I would bet they will be doing that even if spinners were banned. Heck, the way everybody talks about how easy it is to kill ducks with spinners, you take them away and the newbie's or unskilled might have not have a choice but to move in on the guys that "know how to hunt" - just so they can get a shot!

    Oh, and next time you see Phil Robertson, you might pass on to him that anybody that would use a spinner does not know anything about real hunting, tradition, or duck calling.
  2. duck

    duck Well-Known Member


  3. clane72286

    clane72286 Well-Known Member

    This is a true statement. But the only thing not accurate is in the seasons without spinners there were less hunters on public land. Ask a agfc member I did. Mr. Green Jeans said he checked less hunters at midseason that year then any of his other 20. His statement was and I qoute "they werent killing ducks so they quit coming". But thats what he said and its just hear say.
  4. GreenTimber

    GreenTimber Well-Known Member

    Phil Robertson as an example??? Don;t get me wrong I'm not saying he's not a hunter. :head: BUT,



    I didnt even read the rest of your post so don't know what it said but that was a terrible example. Try again. :up:
  5. Black OpsThe legend

    Black OpsThe legend Member<br>Forum Sponsor<br>www.blackopsduckcalls.c

    According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004 (the season before spinners were banned) the mallard harvest was 556,530 in arkansas, the following year (2005) the mallard harvest was 475,080.....and so on the following year as well, but in 2007 the year they came back it was 578,120 and then in 2008 it was 641,420 and 2009 it was 605,670......I don't know about you, but that looks to me that the MALLARD HARVEST was down during the spinner ban and greatly up otherwise? But then again I'm no math teacher either, but you want facts, that's the facts.....Look at MALLARD numbers not total duck numbers:whistle:

    Oh, if I ran into Phil I'd ask him why he wears all that face paint
  6. Black OpsThe legend

    Black OpsThe legend Member<br>Forum Sponsor<br>www.blackopsduckcalls.c

    Maybe 75,000 mallards isn't very many?:rolleyes:
  7. Good numbers and logic. However, I've shot more ducks this year without spinners than I did in 05-07 without spinners, so the numbers could have nothing to do with spinner usage and have everything to do with overall duck numbers.

    We will just not ever know...:head:
  8. Black OpsThe legend

    Black OpsThe legend Member<br>Forum Sponsor<br>www.blackopsduckcalls.c

    I agree completely, but if we're gonna use facts, let's use the right ones:up:
  9. ducksoup

    ducksoup Well-Known Member

    not sure why you only want to use mallard numbers as this post is about overall ducks harvested. Also, duck harvest and duck numbers have a heck of a lot more to it than if spinners were used or not used..
    how about weather, water, pothole production, etc...
    some years ducks are in BM thick, some years not.
    As for the years without spinners, less people on public land??? could be there were just less ducks those years.I've been to BM and other public spots many times just to find them empty of hunters. look at harvest numbers over time and you will notice that duck populations and harvest numbers fluctuate...they even did that before spinners belive it or not!!!
    someone mentioned that the mallard harvest was down during the spinner ban..well, your numbers also show 35,000 less mallards killed in 09 than in 08...how can that be??? did people use less spinners in 09? :head:
  10. I think he's using mallards only because the gripe against spinners is that they make younger mallards easier to decoy and cause more mallards (albeit younger ones) to be killed.

    No one is getting upset over woodies and gadwalls getting killed over spinners.
  11. Black OpsThe legend

    Black OpsThe legend Member<br>Forum Sponsor<br>www.blackopsduckcalls.c

    :up: :up: :up:
  12. jcamp21

    jcamp21 Well-Known Member

    Its a good thing we arent talking about gaddies being killed over spinner cause I dont have a dog in this hunt. Thats all I managed to kill is gaddies.:thumb: Trust me I havent hurt the mallard population at all this year. Hoping this new DFB i got can change that.:biggrin:
  13. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    Yes - I was speaking of ducks in general, not just mallards. We are not all fortunate enough to be able to hunt a greentree area where the duck population consists of mostly mallards. If I had plenty of mallards to pick from - where I hunt - I probably would not use a spinner either, because in MY experience, they are easier to call and decoy than some of the other ducks. When I am fortunate to get a little water in the buttonbrush behind my cabin, all that is in there is mallards and I don't use a spinner. I have never used a spinner on Bayou Meto, either. And yes, there are many more variables that contribute to harvest numbers than just hunters and spinners, but bottom line is, over the life history of the spinner, duck harvest has not changed appreciably one way or the other. My point is, that as a trained biologist, if someone presented me with the argument that we need to do away with spinners in Arkansas because they are having a negative effect on duck populations, my reply would be that the statistics do not support this argument. I think the spinner opponents need to come up with another reason to do away with spinners than "they are taking too many juveniles, hens, mallards, or whatever", because an appreciable decline in duck population or appreciable increase in harvest can not be statistically noted.
  14. blackcorn

    blackcorn Well-Known Member

  15. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    I am not even hearing the spinner opponents griping about there not being enough mallards. What I am hearing is they were working flocks up to 200 birds, or limited out on green in 20 minutes, etc. But, they are indicating that if you are a spinner user, you are more likely to shoot their swing ducks. Again, my point is that they need to come up with a different argument to be successful in getting rid of them. Although I use a spinner fairly regularly, I am not going to give up duck hunting if they go away. I don't see how the opponents are going to be successful touting all the ducks they are killing and working, and then complaining the spinners are causing too many ducks to be killed. Their problem is to many folks moving in on them while they are hunting. My personal opinion is that Bayou Meto would probably be better off as a permit hunt WMA, with assigned hunting areas. That way, if you could draw a permit, you could go over there and have an enjoyable hunt the way it should be. Bayou Meto is a true treasure and the boat racers, shell hiders, swing shooting tree toppers are the ones that are ruining it, not someone just because they are using a spinner. The problem is there are too many folks hunting in too congested of an area. Would I ever propose the permit hunt idea or push it to the Game and Fish - no, because I know there are too many Arkansas folks that depend on BM for their duck hunting, and since I have pretty much quit hunting BM, it is not my place to get involved in that. I would love to hunt over there again, but I am not going to put up with the circus. Concerning Bayou Meto, you have basically four types of folks - there are the trouble makers, then there are those that hunt over there and make the best of it and take it for what its worth, those that hunt over there and gripe about everyone else, and those that don't hunt over there.
  16. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    Because he is so dang ugly he has to have something to cover that face. Although, I wish I had the money just his face has made!
  17. Black OpsThe legend

    Black OpsThe legend Member<br>Forum Sponsor<br>www.blackopsduckcalls.c

    That is true......
  18. REM870

    REM870 Account Suspended

    Mallards are the only real ducks there are. All the rest are just dumb ninjas.
  19. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    "And so on the following year as well" should have read "547,500, or almost the same number in 2004 (556,530), when spinners were legal." In addition to Arkansas, Kansas saw a large drop in mallard harvest from 04 to 05, while both Mississippi and Missouri saw significant increases. Mississippi saw a decrease in Mallard harvest from 06 to 07, but Kansas and Missouri both saw increases in harvest, just like Arkansas. I think it would be difficult to statistucally attribute banning of the spinner on the reduction or increases in mallard harvest, as neighboring states were experiencing some of the same trends while leaving their SWD regulations unchanged.
  20. Black OpsThe legend

    Black OpsThe legend Member<br>Forum Sponsor<br>www.blackopsduckcalls.c

    I think 10-20,000 mallards is still substantial and it's 33,000 less than the year after the spinners returned.....we could argue this all day and night but like stated above, there are several other unknown variables